Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Is a Huge Fan of First-Class Wenger

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hughes Is a Huge Fan of First-Class Wenger

Article excerpt


MARK HUGHES smiles at the thought of Blackburn enjoying the sort of troubles currently enveloping Highbury.

"I hear Arsenal are in crisis," said Blackburn's manager as he contemplated Saturday's FA Cup clash in Cardiff. "Second in the league and in the semi-final of the FA Cup! But that is the height of the bar they have set themselves.

"They have great players like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira and they have fantastic talent around them.

"They have won things as a team and now they expect to win games rather than hope to win them."

Hughes, a combative striker who won the FA Cup four times as a player, is not the sort of man to enter a match in hope rather than expectation.

But he faces a tough task if his side are to derail Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger, who is bidding for his fourth FA Cup triumph.

"I admire the manager," said Hughes, who this season took Eddie Niedzwiecki from Highbury, where he was reserveteam coach, to Ewood Park as first-team coach. "Eddie talks in glowing terms about 'The Arsenal'. They do things the right and correct way. There is a way to be as a club and that is how you treat people, how you go about your business and have a bit of class when you need to have it.

"Arsenal have certainly got that. A lot of that stems from the manager you have in place."

Contrast that to Hughes's feelings for one of his old haunts, Chelsea, where he made 123 appearances as a striker scoring 39 goals.

In February Jose Mourinho's side beat Blackburn 1-0 in a controversial match at Ewood Park when goalscorer Arjen Robben broke his foot following a challenge by Aaron Mokoena.

Then at the final whistle, Hughes was furious when Mourinho ignored the traditional handshake with the opposition manager and danced in front of the travelling fans as if the title had been won.

Both sides were later fined by the Football Association for failing to control their players during the bad-tempered clash. Chelsea's antics did not go

down well with Hughes, who was also annoyed by accusations his side were a team of spoilers. …

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